Thursday, May 01, 2008

Being best Buddies with Your Spouse Can Mean a Happy Marriage

From Psychology Today, a brief article that suggests couples who are friends and have fun together have happier and healthier relationships. Makes sense to me.

Body of Evidence: Play Mates
Being best buddies with your spouse can mean a happy marriage.

Names: Grace Lee and John Lee

Professions: Art Director And Real-Estate Financier

"I never imagined myself being married. I had no fantasy of being married, and I didn't really expect much of it," says Grace Lee, explaining why years after the two exchanged vows their friendship has only deepened. "It's been fun. We can be very silly together," she reports. "Most of our friends think we're the ideal couple, fun and adventurous. We can joke with each other and know it's not more than that. They have to be more careful with their partners, and we're past that." She credits him with making her more athletic: He taught her snowboarding, surfboarding, and weight-lifting. She's taught him tennis—or at least tried. The net effect? "I'm much less cynical than I used to be."

  • Leisure Suits Us

    How people play is changing the way they mate and what constitutes the (often unspoken) marital bargain. Despite the stress so many people feel, there has been real growth in leisure time over the last four decades—corresponding to at least an extra five weeks of vacation a year. Now more than ever, recreation drives marital pairing.

  • Marriage American Style

    Although Americans are generally marrying less, they still marry, divorce, and—especially—remarry at rates higher than in most other countries where the population has comparable income levels. This marital pattern of "churning" very much resembles what goes on in the American labor market, distinctive in its robust—and rapid—entry and exit. What's more, there is a boom in later-life marriages. People over 65 are now more likely than ever to be married—as likely as those ages 16 to 65.

  • The Love Debt

    Consumer spending may be good for the economy, but it can undermine your marriage. The more debt recently married couples incur, the more likely they are to experience dissatisfaction with each other. Couples burdened with consumer debt wind up spending less time together and more time arguing about money. Both changes erode the happiness of the marriage.

  • What Goes Around...

    What's the best way for couples to handle issues that remain unresolved even after arguments? Forgiveness can keep persistent hurt and anger from wrecking the future of the relationship. Women who can summon up benevolence and actively forgive their partners end up experiencing lower levels of conflict one year later, regardless of the initial levels of happiness in the marriage, the character of the conflict, and the severity of the issue that troubled them.


Institute for the Study of Labor Discussion Paper 2602; Family Relations; Journal of Family Psychology.

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